24 April, 2009

Review: The Sword of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

The Sword of Truth, by Terry Goodkind follows the trials and tribulation of Richard Cipher through countless adventures. This is one of my favorite series hands down. The general philosophical underpinnings of the Sword of Truth series do tend to scare me a bit but are ultimately justified in the context of the world the Mr. Goodkind created. Think of a world completely overtaken by an abysmal failure of pseudo communism in which the apparatchik rule all and mankind sullenly accepts its well deserved suffering. The only solution is brutal honesty with a good backing of military might, and Richard has more than enough to go around.

They recently spun off a televised mini-series from the first novel that moved me to tears, in a bad way. Maybe its because after reading the book there is no way, short of a three hour hollywood blockbuster (per episode), that you can capture the entirety of the story line. It really is well crafted and the plot twists escape you till the last minute.

Terry Goodkind is a master of delving deep into his characters' psyches and coming out with something that resonates with the reader. The most memorable part of the whole Sword of Truth series, in my opinion, is when Richard is capture by a Mord Sith, and tortured for months on end. Those were a twisted few chapters that made me think that Terry Goodkind should have switched to the Horror/Thriller genre.

The system of magic always seemed to lack something, but that's mostly because it isn't the main focus. Richard wields his power not through knowledge but through instinct and desire. The reader is left hanging, waiting for him to discover the actual technical knowledge that will allow him to defeat his enemies, but after ten books it turns out not to be needed. This is epic fantasy at its finest, with larger than life characters, arch villains, world shattering magic, and true love!

One thing which always nagged me was the preachiness factor of the books. It seemed every time Terry Goodkind was at a loss of substantive plot development he would fall back on the old chapter-long philosophical monologues. Did anyone else that read the series get this feeling? I know there is a lot of funny hate out there on other blogs for Mr. Goodking but I believe that a lot of it is undeserved.

6 comments:

ediFanoB said...

So far I read the first book of the series and I liked it. For a deeper discussion I need to read more books.

bloggeratf said...

The series has its ups and downs as I mentioned in my post. It easy to fall into the rhythm of them though. However, I was significantly put off by the books where Richard was not the main focus, often finding myself skipping ahead to find out what the hell was going on... Averaged out I would still rate the series as a whole pretty highly and would recommend following it through to the end if you can make the commitment.

Jacob Da Jew said...

I very much enjoyed the entire series, loved the combat scenes. And yes, he sometimes scares me with the torture scenes.

I tend to agree with you regarding the philo rants but hey, no one is perfect.

zaldar said...

really you actually enjoyed this..wow just lost a lot of respect for your taste...this stuff is utter crap as is his philosophy and unfortunately the author is an utter dick in person and to his fans..oh well you loved dune which is a good sign...

Alec said...

@ Zal

I got sucked in when I was young. I figured if it was as long as the Wheel of Time, it had to be good.

After book one, I just had to see how the series ended. And for all that people hate TG and his rants, his actual writing is solid.

If you search with the site bar at the top you will see some pretty funny posts I have done about him...

Anonymous said...

I think the books where Richard wasn't the main focus gave more insight into past story lines (aka the Rahl's stories). The long philosophical monologues give the reader an idea about the character's ideals and creates more depth of character. Perhaps Goodkind used these to deepen plot and character to give the reader more of an understanding of the story?